With temperatures rising to unlikely highs this year (global warming is real, folks), it takes very little effort to strip off the layers and dress more comfortably. Still, dressing down doesn’t mean giving up entirely. Now’s the time to for a shift in wardrobe, a touch of studied nonchalance, and a dose of playfulness to match the season’s mood.
Naturally, you can anchor everything on the watch you wear, creating an entire look (or even a wardrobe) based around it. It’s likely to pay off in the end, anyway, since the heat isn’t something that’s likely to go away soon.
Here, then, are some of the best new watches to wear for the summer. From water-resistant pieces to multi-functional field watch hybrids, you can take these with you when you head out there.
TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph
Let’s start off with a classic. Back when Heuer was just Heuer without the TAG name attached to it, they came up with a dual-purpose watch that was meant to be used for both automotive sports and aviation (hence the Autavia name).
This year, TAG Heuer taps into that history to create a series of pilot watches that look decidedly vintage. The dial uses arabic numerals, and a date display window sits at six, making for a clean, uncluttered design. This is a watch that’s meant to be taken on flights across the world.
It comes in a few color variants—blue, black, and gray—with the blue and black sporting a ceramic bezel, while the gray one has a steel bezel. They also come in bronze, with brown or green dials. Bronze seems to be a popular choice of metal this year, though the presentation of the blue dial version, coupled with a brown leather bracelet would likely go better with a wider range of summer outfits. It’s also easier to match when the season is over.
The AlpinerX is one of the smartest looking smart watches out there. With real hands and an actual dial instead of a screen, it actually looks like a watch. And while the looks certainly are a plus, it also connects to your phone to to display heart rate monitoring, UV, temperature, altitude, pressure, and the north direction. This makes it truly useful in the wild or for, you know, finding that take out place you can never remember the location of.
One of the novel things about it is that it launched on Kickstarter last year. Sure, it isn’t the first good watch to come out of the crowdsourcing platform (see Xeric) but it did give the community many more options: 11,0000 of them in total. Kickstarter users designed their own versions of the AlpinerX from 11,000 choices, and the best four were chosen to go into production. The best part? You never have to charge it. For two years, anyway, until the battery needs replacement.
Rolex Yacht-Master 42
When it comes to the sea, Rolex has quite a history of exploration, and this is a heritage that the brand will continue to make use of in the future. All the better, because The Yacht-Master collection is getting some more love this year with a 42mm entry.
The first model from the line to be made in white gold, the Yacht-Master 42 has a black dial and a stunning matte black ceramic bezel. Unsurprisingly, it makes an elegantly understated combination, while still managing to look like it can shuttle between islands in the roughest seas. This is probably best if you prefer a more neutral or nautical wardrobe for the season.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Weekly Calendar
Here’s a watch that would be handy for extensive traveling. The Calatrava Weekly calendar displays your usual day, date, month, and time. On top of that, though, it also displays the current week number using a new complication.
This is more useful than it seems at first, especially for fields like advertising or publishing, where campaigns and deliverables are scheduled by week number. Naturally, you can also keep track of the weeks when you fly out, making it easier to remember. It might also be great for keeping track of certain holidays and festivals.
The watch definitely looks like a throwback piece to a more analog time, and this makes it good to wear with summer classics like linen blazers or possibly safari jackets.
Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zagato 100th Anniversary Edition
Made in tribute to the 100th Anniversary of Italian design studio Zagato, this watch draws on the brand’s motoring heritage to create a racing-inspired theme. The watch takes its name from the Mille Miglia race, an endurance driving competition in Italy that harkens back to the golden years of motorsports. Its present-day revivial now uses only classic cars to go across the Italian landscape.
Chopard and Zagato have collaborated to bring back the spirit of those golden years, using design elements such as the curving lines of the case and the bund-style watch strap with tone-on-tone stitching. Altogether, the watch delivers the fantasy of old-school motoring to the wrist, and this piece would go well with an easy weekender ensemble (light jackets, casual shirts) for long drives.
Hermes Slim d’Hermes Titane
At a little over 8mm thick, the Slim d’Hermes definitely lives up to its name. This makes it easy to wear during the summer months, when heavier watches might run the risk of feeling oppressive on the wrist.
Design-wise, Hermes leaned more toward understatement, though they did break it up with pops of Hermes orange on the seconds hand and on 12 o’clock. Against the dark gray dial, this seems like a bold yet subtle choice. The presentation feels very light and balanced, and this is a piece that can be dressed up or down depending on the mood.
Come the end of summer, it’ll feel right at home when worn with a suit, adding just the right amount of whimsy to break the office monotony. But, just like every other watch on this list, the Slim d’Hermes is meant to be worn out there.
Aurelio Icasiano III has been in media for 14 years: as a television producer and writer, travel correspondent, book editor, and as editor of an internationally-awarded men’s lifestyle magazine. He runs an electrical construction company by day but spends all too much time thinking about the next story.